5. Foraminifera and environment

Planktonic and benthic foraminifera reveal the state and the dynamics of the surface and deep ocean in the past. These protozoans are less than 1 millimetre in size. They occur in nearly all marine environments, from deep-sea trenches up to the salt marsh meadows. Even in brine channels of Antarctic sea ice they have been found. Many species respond sensitively to certain environmental conditions. Thus, the chemical and isotopic composition of their calcitic shell material records the properties of their ambient sea water. The texts also mirror metabolic and kinetic processes again which played a role in shell formation. Foraminiferen are mostly well-preserved in marine sediments, and they are found in great numbers. Therefore, foraminifera became the most important tool for paleoceanographic reconstructions.

Foraminiferen als Proxies für Bodenströmungen (German) 

Foraminiferal taxonomy
Paleo-seasurface temperatures deduced from Mg/Ca in planktonic foraminifers
Benthic foraminifera in moderately polluted environments: a case study from Kiel Bight (SW Baltic Sea)
Effects of elevated pCO2 on living benthic foraminifera
Changing habitats of planktonic foraminifera in the Greenhouse World
Biodiversity of benthic foraminifera in the northeastern Atlantic
Benthic foraminifera in tropical Oxygen Minimum Zones
Marginal marine foraminifera

Habitat studies of planktonic foraminifera in the Caribbean
Reconstruction oxygen conditions of the Peruvian OMZ for the last 22 thousand years using benthic foraminifera


Matthäus, W. 1990. Langzeittrends und Veränderungen ozeanologischer Parameter während der gegenwärtigen Stagnationsperiode im Tiefenwasser der zentralen Ostsee. Fischerei-Forschung, 28:  25–34.

Nausch, G., Matthäus, W., Feistel, R. 2003. Hydrographical and hydrochemical conditions in the Gotland Deep area between 1992 and 2003. Oceanologia, 45: 557–569.

Olsson, I. 1976. Distribution and ecology of the foraminiferan Ammotium cassis (Parker) and its ecological significance. Zoon, 4: 137–147.

Schönfeld, J., Numberger, L., 2007. Seasonal dynamics and decadal changes of benthic foraminiferal assemblages in the western Baltic Sea (NW Europe). Journal of Micropalaeontology, 26: 47–60.


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